19 September 2010

Guest Author: Christina Phillips

This week on Excerpt Thursday we're welcoming Christina Phillips, whose steamy new release from Berkley Heat, FORBIDDEN, is set Wales during the Roman Empire!

He was a master of seduction--but no match for the magical allure of the woman he wanted most...

Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion--his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.

Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan's ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn't realize her true heritage--until he captures her heart as well as her body.

As Carys's loyalties are twisted, and freedom is no longer her single-minded obsession, an avenging former lover threatens to crush Maximus's people into oblivion. Now Carys and Maximus must overcome the devastation of war and face the ultimate sacrifice if their forbidden love is to survive.

"The heat between these two crosses cultural boundaries, but the real question is whether they can stay together when the world is yanking them apart. Four Stars." ~ RT Book Reviews

"Maximus is pure, raw male and too sexy for words. I could understand why Carys was enthralled with him and wanted him despite being her enemy. I am also a sucker for star-crossed lovers and a really evil villain. It made this book very thrilling as I hoped Maximus and Carys would be able to evade Aeron's nefarious plans and end up happily together." ~ Bookaholics


Thank you for having me here on Unusual Historicals today! I'd like to chat a little about the background information on my recent release, FORBIDDEN.

When and where is FORBIDDEN set?

My debut release with Berkley Heat (out this month) is set in AD 50 in Cymru (ancient Wales). My inspiration for this story came while I was tackling some admin one night--a fully formed vision appeared in my mind of a Roman centurion and his Druid priestess lover, who had been cursed to an eternity apart by the villainous High Druid.

I'd never written a historical before, but that scene wouldn't leave my mind. My Roman hero haunted me (not that I'm complaining!!) and since I always enjoy a challenge when it comes to stretching my writing muscles I decided to spend some time with Maximus and Carys.

Why chose Wales?

The reason I chose Wales as my setting was because of its links to the Druids, and the fact the Isle of Anglesey--then known as the Isle of Mon--was the Druid stronghold. I wanted the odds stacked overwhelmingly against Maximus and Carys being able to declare their love for each other and having her a Druid--and a Druid princess at that--fit perfectly.

Claudius, the Roman Emperor at the time, hated Druids with a passion and wanted all trace of them wiped out across his Empire. Couldn't be better for the purposes of my plot! I now had historical back up for my Romans' determination to hunt down and eliminate the elusive clan of Druids who had escaped them during the initial invasion.

Why Druids?

While there's plenty of written and archaeological evidence when it comes to the Romans, there's not so much when it comes to the Druids. Caesar explains this lack of documentary evidence when talking of the Gaulish Druids: "they consider it improper to entrust their studies to writing." And the written accounts we do have of them are invariably from the Roman viewpoint--so there's likely to be some prejudice going on there!

I read and researched as much as I could find about Druids of that period. They were widely respected as the priests of Celtic society, held responsibilities for lawmaking, were the keepers of knowledge and wisdom and were known as magicians. But there's little detail as to their daily lives and so in the end I let my imagination run wild within the context of the world we know they inhabited.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on another ancient historical romance set in a different century, and also hope to write two more stories in the "Forbidden" series. Be sure to visit my blog for regular updates! You can also find me on Twitter and on Facebook.


Thanks so much for stopping by today, Christina! Readers, if you would like to win a copy of this steamy historical treat, leave a comment or question for Christina. What would you most like to know about Wales and Druids in the ancient times? Are gladiators and Roman warriors appealing to you as romance heroes? I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!


Suzi Love said...

Loved reading about your naked Roman centurion,
Hoping to go to bed and have one pop into my mind too tonight- Grin!
Can't wait to read your Unusual Historical,

Jennifer said...

I love the idea of a Roman hero in ancient Wales! I can't wait to read this book!


Barbara E. said...

I'm excited to read a story set in Wales during the Roman Empire with a Druid heroine and a Roman hero, it sounds fantastic. I don't think there are enough books set in Wales, especially in the time of the Druids. The clash of the two cultures sounds like it will make for a very interesting story.

Chelsea B. said...

Hi, Christina! I've been looking forward to reading your newest book sense I fist read the blurb! Thanks for posting!

Scorpio M. said...

Hi Christina,

Been following your blog tour and very much looking forward to FORBIDDEN. It's very rare to find an adventurous romance set in ancient times.

jenma76 at hotmail dot com

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Suzi! Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about my naked Roman centurion :-) I had a lot of fun writing him!!!

Hi Jennifer! Thanks so much!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Barbara - I agree, there should be more books set in Wales. It's a beautiful country and has a fascinating heritage. Thanks for popping by!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Chelsea! Thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed the blurb!

Hi Scorpio M, I'd love to see more romances set in ancient times. I had so much fun exploring the world of my Romans and Druids. Thanks for stopping by!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Go the ancient historical in Wales in Roman times. Still waiting for my copy from the Book Depository. Sigh.

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Eleni! Thanks for stopping by! But oh no, what's up with the BD this month? :-(

Alison said...

This sounds an utterly fascinating read - what an amazing place and time to set your story in!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Alison, thanks so much for popping in! I loved writing about this time in history!

Julie said...

I'd love to get my hands on some of that Druid research--it sounds absolutely captivating! I'm loving the impossible odds stacked against your hero and heroine. :)

azteclady said...

Hello, Ms Phillips (and congratulations on the release!)

Like Julie, I would love to read some of that research, as I'm very curious about the title of princess for a druid woman (druidess?).

Stephanie said...

Wow! I'd love to read the book now; it sounds fascinating! Indeed, I do think that gladiators and Roman warriors are appealing romance heroes. Not that I've met too many in my lifetime :)

Have a fantastic weekend,

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Julie, thanks! The research is fascinating, and I loved how the odds were stacked against Maximus and Carys :-)

Christina Phillips said...

Hi azteclady, thank you for the congratulations! Carys is a druidess, but has royal blood from her mother's side, so is also a princess. It added to her conflict :-)

Christina Phillips said...

Thank you, Stephanie! I agree, gladiators and Roman warriors are fabulous hero material!!

Dee said...

What an interesting pairing. I was always under the (mistaken?) impression that there were only male druids? Were they selected or did they inherit their position? And, somewhere I recall a snippet/factoid that it took something like 20 years to learn their role which is why the Romans were so successful in stamping them out (no trained successors and no written references)? Comments?

Carrie Lofty said...

We have a winner -- Stephanie! Go here for details on how to claim your prize:


Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Dee, I've also read that there were only male Druids, but as there is so much mystery surrounding them it's not absolutely certain. They didn't write down their teachings and it took about twenty years to pass on their knowledge. That's why there's so little known of them, and what we do know comes from the Romans. The Forbidden series in, in part, the struggle of a people whose way of live is in danger of dying out and being forgotten forever, and how, in their own ways, they try to prevent this from happening. Thanks for the great questions!